22 Feb

“I Can See For Miles” – The Who

Here’s another Sunday quickie, The Who’s I Can See For Miles, from their 1967 album The Who Sell Out. And on the tail of this clip, the Charles Atlas ad from the same album, featuring the distinctive growl of John Entwistle. Which makes me want to cue up their Boris the Spider, one of my own personal favorites in their repertoire. Damnit, hang on a sec…

…okay, fine, I talked me into it. Get ‘yer groove on with Ox & the lads with this concert footage from their Houston, TX, USA show in 1975.

20 Feb

“Powerhouse” – Raymond Scott Quintette

Theme of the week: Raymond Scott’s Powerhouse. It’s everywhere.

Well, that’s it for another week. Please forgive my brevity, but I’m really late for work this time. Oy!

It’s that time again to hit y’all with the original, performed by the man (and his band) himself, Raymond Scott. Break out those smoking jackets and martini shakers, yo.

19 Feb

“La Villa Strangiato” – Rush

Theme of the week: Raymond Scott’s Powerhouse. It’s everywhere.

Good grief, but this is a long song. 

Brief aside:

I’m not a Rush fan. I’m not a Rush hater, either. They’re a band that I’ve got to be in the mood to listen to, otherwise it just sounds like a bunch of self-indulgent wankery and then I put on my Captain Cranky cape and it’s game over, man.

This is a long song, but gosh, it sure rips up the speakers. 

Back to the Powerhouse nods, though. I’ve picked two live recordings, spaced thirty-ish years apart. Yes, for a ±10 minute song, I’ve given y’all two to listen to and ponder.

First, from their R30 tour (2004?), Powerhouse gets a little more airtime than in the 1978 performance. There’s an upfront quote of it @ 3:48-4:09, the bass (Geddy Lee) uses it as the backing for part of Alex Lifeson’s guitar solo/rant @ 5:52-7:12, and then it’s upfront again right before the end.

Another aside:

If you were to do a YouTube search for La Villa Strangiato Rant, you’d see just how fucking tight these guys are as musicians. And how bizarrely insane Alex Lifeson can be, on stage. I guess 30+ years of playing together will do that for a group, eh?

Second, from a 1978 performance, Powerhouse only has a tiny little howdy-do, squeezed in there @ 6:12-6:34. Yup, 22 whole seconds. So why am I including this recording? Am I a sadistic bastard? Do I think you have nothing better to do than stare at this page for more than 20 minutes? Is my moon occulting your musical point-of-view?

Well, yes. Heh.

Remember last week’s theme about the evolution/convolution of a song? Okay, okay, I didn’t think so. But that’s why. One band (this time), one song, almost thirty years of time between the two recordings.

Be curious, if nothing else. Though it may get you in trouble, if’n you’re not careful.

La Villa Strangiato, 2004


La Villa Strangiato, 1978

One last thing. Max also chose La Villa Strangiato as his song of the day a while back. Go see what he had to say, why don’cha?

18 Feb

“Fraulein” – Devo

Theme of the week: Raymond Scott’s Powerhouse. It’s everywhere.

Today was hard. I’d had high hopes for the They Might Be Giants track that nods to Raymond Scott, Rhythm Section Want Ad, but alas, it committed the cardinal sin. The Powerhouse B riff wedged in the middle like a brief instrumental break was the only entertaining part, and that just ain’t enough.

I’ll give Rush’s La Villa Strangiato a spin tomorrow and hope the signal to noise ratio is sufficient for my selfish needs.

Devo, Devo, Devo. This is early Devo, mid-’70s. Musically, the song is all quotations from other songs. It opens (and closes) with the signature riff from the jazz standard-ish Blues in the Night; the main musical phrase is, of course, Powerhouse B; and the mix is lightly seasoned here and there with the instrumental break from Led Zepplin’s Whole Lotta Love.

This sort of borrowing is not at all uncommon. Even before sampling technology came into the fore, for you youngersters out there. People used to learn other people’s songs and actually play the songs themselves, on their very own instruments. They were called musicians. If you look even remotely closely, you might see some humor in the collection of songs they chose to quote, though you might have to go out and give them a listen or two, first. This sort of musical punning is also not at all uncommon.

Now get off my lawn, you warbling kids, and go buy a guitar or something…

And that’s the song. Okay, there’s mock blues lyrics & vocal stylings, too. Somehow, it all works. Enough for my mercenary purposes, anyway.

Be happy or not, y’all.